Political Displays of Connection

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While I tend to keep my political views as far away from my all of my media profiles as possible, many are quite vocal about politics on their profiles. Taking a quick look at your newsfeed after any televised debate makes it clear that social media platforms can play a pretty big role in the election process. In the months leading up to the election, you virtually can’t go a day without observing at least a handful of Tweets and Facebook statuses showcasing your friends’s political views or thoughts on the upcoming election, though this article makes it particularly clear just how much of an impact social media has on the election process. The shear reach of a single tweet or status speaks for itself in the ability one has to circulate their ideas throughout the given platform.

 

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As the article points out, youth, in particular, are especially susceptible to the influence of social media when it comes to elections. Not only have Facebook and Twitter helped increase voter registration and turnout, but it has also been used to predict election turnout. This is a prime example of how someone’s Public Displays of Connections can be used to infer certain information about them. If you see someone “likes” the democratic party or President Obama, on Facebook, you may infer that they will be voting democrat or align with the democratic party. According to the article, candidates most frequently mentioned in social media win elections 75% of the time, which makes it crucial for the candidates to maintain a credible profile on any given platform. As Liu would argue, they most likely want to maintain a prestige statement, to show their credibility.

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This article, as well, points out the important role that Twitter, specifically, plays in influencing politics. Not only does Twitter increase voter turnout, but your Twitter feed may actually sway your vote. This is a prime example of how the community you choose to create on any given platform can influence your political decisions. Not to mention, it makes it extremely important for the candidates to choose their words wisely. Romney’s ‘binder full of women’ has certainly made its presence apparent on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ve seen my fair share of memes and cartoons of Big Bird’s support for the Obama campaign!

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